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Journal Article

Transitivity, Indirection, and Redemption in Sheila Watson's The Double Hook

Yinglin Ji and Dan Shen
Vol. 39, No. 3, Shakespeare and Others (Fall 2005), pp. 348-361
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Page Count: 14
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While stylistics in various forms has been flourishing in Britain over the past forty years or so, its development has been rather limited in America since the late 1970s. One of the major reasons underlying American scholars' neglect of stylistics is that they tend to hold stylistic analysis to be “circular,” that is not able to offer fresh interpretations of literary texts. The present study aims at demonstrating the usefulness and even indispensability of stylistics by analyzing the hidden and neglected relation between transitivity patterning, indirect presentation, and the theme of redemption in Sheila Watson's The Double Hook. It is revealed that, in connection with the theme of redemption, the authorial narrator purposefully presents the protagonist in a particular way through ingenious linguistic choices. The stylistic revelation may not only shed fresh light on the protagonist's character, but also alter the understanding of plot progression, thereby helping resolve relevant critical controversy. Further, it is shown that the transitivity model greatly facilitates a systematic analysis of the writer's indirect way of presentation, especially when such indirection constitutes a general stylistic strategy of the text.

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